Chapter 315: You were sent to poison
According to the rules, all imperial physicians were required to rotate shifts at the Imperial Physician Courtyard unless they applied for leave ahead of time. Physicians on shift were constantly on call, and could be summoned at any time. But due to Han Yunxi's unique status, Emperor Tianhui only went as far as giving her a title. She was still free to do as she liked. Han Yunxi had no idea how Long Feiye's request for her to go to the Courtyard tomorrow had any relation with the western mountain issue. She got up early the next morning and went straight to the Imperial Physician Courtyard.
This time, she saw Gu Beiyue there. The sun was just rising from the east when Gu Beiyue was standing in front of the entrance to the dispensary. His entire form was bathed in sunlight, making him white robes glimmer like gold with a nameless regal, holy light. Han Yunxi stared at him with the sun in her eyes and only felt like she was looking at a angel.
She didn't know why, but she always felt a sense of beauty when looking at this man. Even her mood improved.
Very soon, Gu Beiyue saw Han Yunxi as well and strode over with quick steps. He gave a refined and cultivated bow. "This official greets esteemed wangfei."
"Gu Beiyue, I'm only a court physician, while you're the head. Right now I'm your subordinate, so it should be me greeting you, right?" Han Yunxi teased.
Gu Beiyue was so frightened by these words that he started waving his hands. "I don't dare, I don't dare."
"In terms of medical skills, I really can't compare to you," Han Yunxi spoke the truth. According to the standards set by the Cloud Realm Medical Academy, Gu Beiyue would count as a fifth-rank Divine Doctor. She herself would be hard-pressed to reach third-rank.
"Esteemed wangfei, a doctor of poisons is also a doctor," Gu Beiyue was very earnest. Indeed, a doctor of poisons was still a doctor, but Cloud Realm Continent's medical community was controlled by its medical academy. Their rankings of doctors didn't include poison specialists. In other words, they didn't acknowledge doctors of poisons at all. As Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue spoke, they headed towards the dispensary. She had no idea what Long Feiye had prepared for her, but she'd yet to see him anywhere. So she decided to browse the dispensary instead. She had been pressed for time the last time she dropped by, so she didn't get a chance to go inside.
Maybe she'd even find some good medicinal ingredients to add to her store. Since Emperor Tianhui dared to make her into an imperial physician, he better be ready to give her ingredients whenever she wanted.
"Imperial Physician Gu, were you on night shift last night? Why are you still here this early in the day?" Han Yunxi asked casually.
But Gu Beiyue simply laughed. "This official's been waiting for esteemed wangfei the entire time."
"You knew I was coming?" Han Yunxi was surprised.
"After the banquet yesterday, General Baili personally told this official that he'd send someone to pick up esteemed wangfei today to treat Miss Mingxiang's illness. He wanted me to prepare her medical record history."
Han Yunxi was even more flummoxed by Gu Beiyue's explanation. But after pondering the issue, she quickly realized what was going on. Long Feiye must have arranged everything!
"What kind of illness did Miss Mingxiang get? Is it very serious?" Han Yunxi asked.
Gu Beiyue handed over the medical records. "She caught it a few days ago, but multiple imperial physicians failed to cure her. Yesterday, this official went for a look myself. As this official sees it, there's a high possibility that...she's poisoned."
Han Yunxi flipped open the medical records and scanned the records of the illness. Apparently, it had started the second morning after she was conferred a title by Emperor Tianhui. Although it'd only been a few days, the history of the case had already been reviewed by the signatures of four other imperial physicians. Gu Beiyue's signature made for the fifth. All of the previous examination, use of medicines and records were all minutely documented in the record. Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue hadn't exchanged a few words before General Baili's men came to pick up Han Yunxi.
"Imperial Physician Gu, are you coming along?" Han Yunxi asked.
Gu Beiyue shook his head. "This official won't be able to help even if I went. I ask that esteemed wangfei go on alone instead."
Han Yunxi could only take along the medical records before leaving with General Baili's men. General Baili and General Mu's estates were located on the east and west ends of the capital city. Just like General Mu, General Baili's estate had two lines of fully armed soldiers standing by the gates. The vermillion gates were wide and lofty and emanated a respectful military might with their solemn bulk. Han Yunxi hadn't even gotten off the carriage before she saw a sedate and dignified girl standing by the front gates. She remembered her as the one who'd taunted the second imperial son last night, General Baili's youngest daughter Baili Mingxiang. She was also the only daughter who'd yet to marry.
Some woman gave off a magananmious aura based on the clothing they wore, but this woman relied on her family background and breeding to achieve the same effect. The aura of a well-bred girl from a good family came from her very bones, making it impossible for anyone to ignore her. Give it a few more years and Han Yunxi could guanrantee that Baili Mingxiang would possess the same air as the empress and empress dowager simply by sitting down with her stately presence. She already liked the girl well enough from her first impression.
And yet, Han Yunxi got a fright as soon as she drew closer!
Her detox system had discovered the toxins within Baili Mingxiang's body. She'd been poisoned with multiple slow-acting poisons in great quantities, enough to alarm anyone. Han Yunxi had only done a preliminary scan at most and knew these poisons wouldn't take her life, but there was really too much of them! What was going on?
A complicated gaze flickered past her eyes before Han Yunxi activated the detox system's deep scanning ability. Her expression didn't change while she slowly analyzed every toxin inside the girl's body. Meanwhile, Baili Mingxiang had made her way over as soon as Han Yunxi descended the carriage to bow. "Mingxiang greets esteemed wangfei, may esteemed wangfei have 10,000 blessings."
Though Han Yunxi had come as an imperial physician, her status as wangfei was still there. Other imperial physicians could simply be called with 'summon the imperial physician,' but Han Yunxi would still need to be called with 'respectfully invite the esteemed wangfei.'
"Aren't you ill? And yet you still came outside? Come, rise," Han Yunxi said.
"I was supposed to come to your estate, but I really didn't have the strength to walk. That's why esteemed wangfei was invited here. I ask esteemed wangfei to forgive me," Baili Mingxiang was very sincere.
Han Yunxi simply laughed. "Come to my estate? Then why would Long Feiye ask me to go to the Imperial Physician Courtyard?" If it was simply treating Baili Mingxiang's illness, the girl could simply come to the Duke of Qin's estate or send someone to take Han Yunxi here. They didn't have to go through the Imperial Physician Courtyard. When Han Yunxi saw Gu Beiyue's record of the case, along with all those signatures, she knew that Long Feiye wanted to leave a trail of documentation at the Imperial Physician Courtyard, too. If Emperor Tianhui started asking any questions, they'd have ample evidence to back her up.
Baili Mingxiang was intelligent enough to pick up on Han Yunxi's words, and couldn't help a small smile as she murmured, "Esteemed wangfei, please come inside."
Baili Mingxiang took Han Yunxi to her quarters before dismissing all of the servants. As soon as Han Yunxi sat down, she asked in a rush, "This is only for an act. Why did you take so many poisons?"
"Esteemed wangfei really is smart. No wonder His Highness likes you so much," Baili Mingxiang laughed.
When Emperor Tianhui made Han Yunxi into an imperial physician that night, his main motive was to send her off to the crazy empress in the western mountains after the birthday banquet was done. On the morning of the very next day, Baili Mingxiang had received His Highness's orders to feign illness and leave a trail of documentation at the Imperial Physician Courtyard. She had no idea what His Highness was planning, but after His Highness had pushed out her father at last night's banquet, she understood the secrets hidden within. At the birthday banquet, His Highness had already made Emperor Tianhui feel threatened. Naturally, the emperor would restrain himself next before the problems worsened. Under these cirumstances, having her father feign ignorance while asking for Han Yunxi to treat her would be a good excuse to keep Han Yunxi at the capital, especially with her slow-acting illness as a reason.
When Emperor Tianhui was faced with the menance of Long Feiye's power and her father's status, he'd naturally yield in the case of the western mountains. Baili Mingxiang wasn't clear whether the show of strength at the banquet was part of His Highness's original plans, or concocted to protect Han Yunxi. But she was certain of one thing: Han Yunxi was an important woman in His Highness's heart! Despite that, she only wished that His Highness would place precedence on the big picture. Hopefully, he wouldn't ruin years of planning for the sake of a single woman. She'd liked His Highness for years, but she liked his cool-headedness and unfeeling rationality best.
Han Yunxi looked at Baili Mingxiang and suddenly didn't know how to reply. He likes me? That was probably the first time she'd heard such words. He'd never said them himself before! Sometimes, she didn't even know what their relationship was. The Duanmu Yao incident had resulted in a complaint from her and an explanation from him. After that, they'd tacitly agreed to forget their previous disagreements and resume their good terms. But even before that misunderstanding, they'd only been husband and wife in name.
Very soon, Han Yunxi wrested herself from those chaotic thoughts and gave Baili Mingxiang a brilliant smile as she joked, "Even if I'm not smart, His Highness will still like me!"
"No, His Highness wouldn't like you if you weren't smart," Baili Mingxiang jested back.
Han Yunxi only felt that these words sounded a little odd, but she was too preoccupied to pursue the matter. Baili Mingxiang's poisons really were a conundrum. She sat down and concentrated all her attention on examining her poisons. Very soon, she realized something was amiss. Previously, she'd found multiple slow-acting poisons in Baili Mingxiang's system. After analyzing them one by one, she discovered that all the poisons had been administered at different times. To put it plainly, this girl had been taking various poisons ever since she was seven years old. Every three months, she'd add a new toxin to the mix.
The deeper Han Yunxi dug, the more alarmed she felt. Her eyes widened as she stared in disbelief at Baili Mingxiang. She couldn't believe that this girl was still alive. Even though those slow-acting poisons wouldn't kill her, their accumulated effects were enough to destroy a person's immune system. In the end, the person would die from all the toxins!
How is this girl still alive?
Han Yunxi took Baili Mingxiang's pulse with a doubtful air, only to discover it was impossible to tell her poisoned state by a pulse alone. Astonished, she asked, "Just what's going on with your body?"
Baili Mingxiang smiled gently. "Actually, esteemed wangfei, His Highness didn't send you to cure my poisons, but to give me poison."
"What do you mean?"
"Esteemed wangfei, His Highness wants the Beauty's Blood." Baili Mingxiang was still smiling, but Han Yunxi was so shocked that she couldn't speak.
Han Yunxi had read about it in the Classic of Ancient Poisons. A passage inside had detailed how the Beauty's Blood was a type of toxic blood that could be used as an ingredient to manufacture poisons. It didn't exist naturally, but had to be cultivated by a specific constitution. Beauty's Blood was created by the subject ingesting various slow-acting poisons until they accumulated in one's bloodstream. Once 300 different poisons had been ingested, the Beauty's Blood would be complete. However, the book never said what happened to the person after that was done. When Han Yunxi looked again at the steady and staid Baili Mingxiang wearing a sweet-tempered smile, she felt her heart ache.
There were currently over 80 different poisons in Baili Mingxiang's body. Dozens of them had side effects that could flare up at any time! She wouldn't die, but her life was worse than death! Even so, she could still say the words, 'Beauty's Blood' with a smile on her face...